Updated: Oct 20, 2018
Have you ever tried to persuade one of your jobseekers to do something, and all you were met with was hostility and resistance?
This is because the more we persuade, preach and push, the more resistance we may face. Whether it’s getting them to go to a job interview, see a psychologist or even change their resume. Humans by nature don’t like being told what to do, controlled or being preached to. Also, people are usually better motivated by feeling autonomous, and when they believe something is their idea. So, the more we step back, ask them the right questions and elicit their own values and motivation, the much better chance we have at influencing them and diminishing their resistance.
Also, many of your jobseekers will have gone through some major changes in their life. Perhaps everything was going well, they had an established career and a sudden disability turned their life upside down. Other times, an unexpected job loss caused much uncertainty. Or perhaps they are feeling discouraged about the lack of job opportunities and constant rejection from employers. Being able to understand the reasons for their resistance and working with these types of clients in an empathetic and strategic way is vital.
Resistance occurs with a jobseeker when
The employment practitioner takes on an authoritarian approach of master and servant.
The employment practitioner doesn’t build enough rapport and trust with their jobseeker.
The employment practitioner doesn’t ask Socratic types of questions that get people to think, and discover their own conclusions.
The employment practitioner wants more for their jobseekers than the jobseeker wants for themselves.
The employment practitioner comes from a place of judgement, aggression and defense rather than understanding.
The employment practitioner has high expectations for their jobseeker.
The jobseeker has had a bad experience with Centrelink or their previous consultants and they expect you to be the same.
The jobseeker has had a traumatic past experience and this resistance has nothing to do with the employment practitioner.
The jobseeker doesn’t want to work and sees no value in working.
The employment practitioner starts trying to solve the jobseeker's problems.
The employment practitioner asks the wrong questions such as, ‘Why have you not found a job yet?’ rather than, ‘what can I do in order to support you in finding a job?’
The employment practitioner uses controlled rather than autonomous support.
Just consider this, how did it make you feel when a manager has micro managed and spoken down to you? We all need respect and some kind of autonomy in our decision making.
The bottom line is we cannot change our clients, but we have the power to influence their behaviour and facilitate change if we have the right tools. If psychology can tell you anything about human behaviour, it’s that the more we push someone to change, the more resistant they become. Our clients change when they decide to change. To think that we have the power to change anyone is a cognitive distortion.
Think about some of your interactions with your difficult clients and consider what you may be able to do differently next time in order to facilitate change.
By Rana Kordahi
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